The Cool House: den
Showing posts with label den. Show all posts
Showing posts with label den. Show all posts

Monday, April 16, 2012

April to April

The last twelve months have flown by, hardly time to post to the blog what with all the twitter twaddle and facebook folies to constantly update. I knew this would happen, I'm basically lazy so if I can say it in 140 characters or less that's the option I'll take, thank you very much. But on the warmest day of a warm April that succeeded the hottest March ever, preceded by a no-Winter that meant no snow and no photos of 2" icicles hanging from the garage roof (and therefore no threat of decapitation when dragging the trash cans down the drive), I've had time to reflect on the past year. 
Firstly, that Spring-like Winter has meant everything in the garden is blooming a good three weeks ahead of normal. This was last April 16 - in past Aprils we've still been salting the back drive this time of year.

The same view today, the forsythia is over, the hostas are up and the azaleas out. It's also 87F and not raining so big bonus, there!

I even pruned the forsythia the was obscuring the pink azalea but not without a minor oops moment.

What was the tenet about bringing the outdoors in... or making lemonade out of lemons?

The early blossoming Spring holds true for the magnolias, too.

Last year May 5.

This year April 8

Secondly the house is looking more put together, even if all the major renovations finished way back in 2010. A lot has to do with the new placement of art and the way we are using the space. The eat-in section of the kitchen is a spot where we spend a lot of time now we are free to laptop/iphone/tablet roam with wifi, often it seems we don't even bother visiting our offices, we just sit at the breakfast table and do our respective things. Sometimes, though I clear up and it's quite serene

Thirdly, I am still nuts. On one of the hottest August days last summer I swapped the rugs in the den and dining room. On my own because The Guy flatly refused to indulge my crazy one more time.

The orange rug headed back to the den

and the cream rug was dragged into the great room. It felt so good I bought it a couple of new cushions in a mid-century inspired pattern in the sale at Crate&Barrel. It's so much lighter in there that I'm sitting there typing. The newly fixed sliding doors are open and I'm listening to what sounds like a duck in the yard. I'm expecting the fox will appear again tonight. April to April... plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The den: A study in black and brown

I've posted nothing about this room since the sneak peek of the rug last year. I'm still on the fence about that, it's warm and soft which makes it a kind of kitty heaven but that leads to clawing and fur balls so we may end up putting it in Verity's room but for now it stays.

It isn't a completely finished room yet, we'll replace the last huge single glazed window at some point, add some bookshelves or corner cabinets. maybe a game table under the chandelier and give the walls a coat of paint but for now it's a liveable, cosy space.

This is how it used to look before I suffered a renovation breakdown and got rid of the raised dais and built in cabinets.

The northwest side: I ended up placing the Probber cube in the corner behind the Eames Lounge chair, mainly so we had enough light to read in the evenings without waiting for the time-delay spots to come on. I have fantasies about a cowhide rug under the chair...

Before: The same angle with original stained carpet.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sneak peek: Den Rug

Linky black links on a beige background. Soft and warm. Cat approved.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! This year I am thankful that I beat my neighbor to the finish in the great ground floor renovation: New kitchen; redone floors; moldings; windows; paint; bathroom for her, laundry room for me - the same upheavals and stress. She started long after me, but her crew is bigger. We were both behind schedule but the last coat of paint dried on our back stairs while her guys were still going strong. November 11 2010 at 4 PM was the exact moment I closed the garage door on the last contractor, which marks the official end of the project. Unless, of course, you count that missing baseboard in the closet...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Touches of Gold

Well Antique Brass, really.

The new sconces arrived - after a lot of thought I finally went with the Jonathan Adler Parker Half-round Sconces for their retro design and gold tone that picks up the design and color of the rug, a couple of paintings and the original track lighting.

This room is going to look so much better with baseboards and a coat of Benjamin Moore Bronzed Beige. We're getting there!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Martinis & Mutts

Since we deconstructed i.e. ripped out the bar in the den I've been searching for the perfect cocktail cart for our house. We also repurposed Polly's dog bed space in the kitchen and I need to find her another napping place before winter comes. This is an ingenious solution but I'm think this might prove problematic with our hyperactive, allergy-prone itchy dog. I forsee martinis up the wall and olives behind the sofa.
BowHaus Modern Pet Crate by Den Haus via Allmodern. Also available in ZenHaus and TownHaus styles.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The only three words that matter

spoken by the Guy as he sat in the renovated (except for the baseboards!)

and temporarily* redecorated den watching the Tour de France...

"you were right"

*once we were happy with the rug in its new position we took it up again. It will be another 4 weeks before we can put rugs on the newly sealed floor - this is why people buy pre-finished flooring!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's all over now sixties blue

In anticipation of the arrival of new shades for two bedrooms I stained and sealed the triangular window frame, touched up one bedroom wall and got two coats of Navajo white over the blue wall in the den. I really should have primed the latter first... I'll be painting a third - and hopefully final- coat tomorrow. And when I say final I mean final until we've chosen a paint colour we like for that room because enough with the Navajo White, it's been almost six years of blah and I need something that says I chose this not I was afraid of paint. Maybe something inspired by the sunset last week...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

And then I lost my mind...

Because re-doing the kitchen and mud-room wasn't stressful enough I decided to replace the 1970s dining room deep-pile, formerly cream, wool carpet with the same hardwood floor at the same time. And because I have pronounced masochistic tendencies I thought I should also replace the matching carpet in the den - in the interest of cohesiveness (and cleanliness), right? We discussed the issues with the raised platform and how to scribe in to the bar/media centre, worked on a direction to run the wood that wouldn't look odd and ordered two bullnoses for the dais and Pete the flooring guy ripped out the carpet.

And that's when the plan changed. He checked the moisture levels on the sub-floor (because he is a professional) where we'd had an issue when the old window had leaked and luckily there was no elevation. We were good to go for hardwood. Then for the fun of it he checked in random spots across the room... and found we were at least two points damper on the dais and a whopping four over the scary stain that kept reappearing over the years on the carpet. When we discover things like this, not-good things, we investigate. We hunted around the basement. Nothing, We checked the moisture levels on the joists underneath. Normal. We plugged in the fan and ran a dehumidifier for hours. No moisture but the levels were still as high.

So Pete decided to pull up a few pieces of plywood to see what was going on. And.... nothing. No leaks, no mold, no dead animals. Just the support beams for the platform and the sub-floor. And the moisture level on that sub-floor? Normal! We had no explanation except trapped air but we did have a huge exposed floor. And that was when I said "Now that we've opened it up when don't we just take the platform out... and the huge built-in, too".

And so we did.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quick swap

I edged the blue sofa out and replaced it with the crimson Steelcase chairs the Awesome Designer picked up for me. You would not believe how much it lightens up the room.



The blue sofa is currently taking a break in the empty great room on its way to my office, which will happen as soon as I have taken my Incredible Hulk pills and got some super-strength in my arms and back or when Vez comes for the Holidays, whichever happens first - that thing is dang heavy!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

TV Table Hack

In an effort to ensure maximal viewing pleasure we executed a nifty TV table hack from a spare shelf in the corner unit and three legs left over from a previous hack.

The TV in the space before. A brilliant picture but a little low for us.

We used a redundant shelf that had just been resting on another shelf in the bookcase, three of the four spare desk legs we'd stored in the garage until we found a use for them and a few tools. As the shelf is the same laminate as the doors on the media center it isn't obtrusive.

Et voila, picture perfect. Time: 10 minutes. Cost: $0. Satisfaction: immeasurable.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An insight into our relationship

Some people have tons of patience and some like to poke and push to get results. Guess which one I am?
Modernemama: Honey, notice anything different?
The Guy: You cut your hair?
M: No

Thirty minutes later:
M: I bought another ball to go in the red bowl
TG: So that's what's new?
M: No. Can't you see it?
TG: I'll walk round the house.......

A few minutes later:
TG: Which room is it in?
M: This one.

Thirty minutes later:
TG: You vacuumed?
M: No
TG: Tell me...Please.

Thirty minutes later:
TG: I give in. Tell me
M: No
TG: I'm going to my computer.

The Guy thinks I will have blogged about the new addition to the den decor. The Guy underestimates my powers.

Next morning:
M: Worked it out yet?
TG: Back in a sec. .............

An hour later Polly needs to go outside and as he crosses the great room something catches his eye. I hear "Oh, wow". Apparently if he is staring straight at something it doesn't register but if he walks diagonally past it, it will jump out wrap itself round his consciousness. Whatever, he got it. Finally.

I got new silk drapes I like for the big window in the den, on sale at Pottery Barn. The color is "clay" and they are less bright than they look in the photo. I like them much better than the oatmeal ones from Crate and Barrel. They contrast with the onyx roman shades but not too much. It's amazing what a difference a couple of tones can make. The Guy, once he noticed, approved of the choice too.
So, which kind of person am I? If you guessed both with a side of torture, you win.

Friday, November 30, 2007


In the interests of marital harmony I compromised and allowed Steven to bring the reclining chair and footstool from the den into my office. Now we can both be comfortable while watching Project Runway Canada*. (Un)fortunately there are no cupholders, or a popcorn machine for that matter, so I don't think it qualifies as a true media room.

As moving the recliner left a big dead space in the den I decided to swap the sofas around. It thoroughly confused the dogs.

And now I need to clean the carpets again.

*Project Runway Canada, if you love the US version, you'll adore this. The same but nicer.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Frustration and furry animals

We spent New Year's Day in a fruitless frenzy trying to take down the old media centre/bar in the den. This was my fault. I thought because we had the dumpster we could just knock the baby out and the replace the carpet later. I thought it would be an easy job.
When it came down to it, after we'd spent an hour clearing everything out of and off the bar and then finding new homes for the junk, Steven took a screwdriver to the back of the unit and pronounced it wasn't going to be so simple. Some of the wires for the cable and electrics come out of the floor. The cables that run to the speakers in the other rooms in the house run through the HVAC vents (?!?). In short, he didn't feel confident taking it all to bits and being without a TV or music for days or even weeks.
So reluctantly we cleaned the unit and put all the stuff back.
media center
And then some devil prompted me to wonder again why the was a hole under the light on the unit. We'd thought it was to push the lamp cord through and it would connect to a socket at the back of the unit or even in the basement. But although we'd poked and prodded at it when we first moved in we couldn't find a power source down there so we'd let it go. Now I was curious and we had a tool we hadn't had two year's ago: a flashlight! Steve said he'd run down to the basement if I shone the light and see if he could see it. So I shone it, and then I squinted down the hole.
The following exchange then took place:
Steve: I can't see a light
Modernemama: No, But honey, I know why they drilled the hole.
Steve: Why?
Modernemama: Because they lost their gerbil.
Steve: What are you talking about?
Footsteps up the basement stairs and then he took the torch from me and looked for himself.
Steve: Hmm. I saw that before. I thought it was a shadow.
Modernemama: The shadow of a dead gerbil?
Steve: Sweetie, that's not a gerbil, it's more of a garden rodent.
So now I not only have to live with an ugly media cabinet in the den but also the knowledge that there is a dead rat inside it and the only way I am going to be able to get it out is to demolish the thing once and for all.
And it took me two days to get the speaker cables back in the right order on the stereo receiver (a 1970 Russound model MP3) but at least the iPod is plugged in and we have music throughout the house once again.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Den Makeover

Since I can't find any inspiration for the master bathroom, I thought I would put it out of my mind for a while and tackle the den. After all that's where we spend most of our time, hanging out, watching TV, drinking cocktails. No wait, that's what the den was built for, but we keep our liquor in the freezer or the refrigerator or down in the basement. So we have this huge bar/media center in the den that effectively divides the room in two. The half with the bar in it faces a well lit area that was used for playing cards and the TV/music center faces the darker half of the room -perfect for viewing as long as there are only two or maximum three people watching TV at any one time.
I really would like to remove this whole entertainment center and put a flat screen TV on the wall and relocate the bar part to either the kitchen or the basement or the dumpster. My man thinks this is grounds for divorce. He loves this huge laminate monolith and swears that everyone except me does too. (I think they are being polite or sarcastic).
He also thinks we have a design dilemma. The center sits on the raised part of the room and if we remove it we will emphasize the diagonal, which will be weird for TV viewing. He may have a point.

built ins
It seems that we have got to the stage with this house where we are both uncertain what will work and neither of us is willing to take a chance. It all seemed so easy two years ago. What's changed?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Window dressing

The roman shades saga continues: On Monday last week I received the replacement roman shades from smithandnoble. After the last experience I knew I had to get them up as quickly as possible to see that they were in perfect condition, so I rushed out and bought four poles to hang them from. (The reason I had ordered from smithandnoble was they offered a ring top option so they could be hung from a metal rod and would be sleek and modern, rather than bulky and fussy.
I sped back home with the selected black curtain poles and spent a good hour drilling holes in the wall to put them up. I thought I'd try the one in my study first and then do the den where there are three windows and I hoped Steve would take over with the drill. (It's man's work, you know). The blind looked ok coming out of the box, and on the pole there were no funny marks or pins left in the material, so far so good.
Then I tried to lock the blind closed, and I pulled one way and then the other, then I checked the back and guess what? They had left off the locking mechanism. I could not believe it! I phoned them immediately and they promised a new blind, which they would confirm by phone within 48 hours, leaving a detailed voicemail if I wasn't home. Really?
I'm still waiting for that phonecall, people, and FYI, four defective blinds out of eight is a really bad average.
So this blind is one of those that will go in the den (and yes they are all ok, I checked). That won't be for a couple of weeks as an accident with a bagel has left Steve with four stitches in his left index finger and I'm too mad to tackle any window dressing right now.